Looking back at Led Zeppelin’s catalog there is an album that hardly ever gets its due. The first 6 albums are all acclaimed and highly regarded but, there is one in particular that really needs to be in the conversation as well, and that album is Presence. Released in 1976, Presence is an album that strips it down to the root of drums, bass, guitars and vocals. Presence was written and recorded after Robert Plant was recovering from a serious car accident. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant spent time in Malibu, California working on the ideas that Plant had written during his convalescent period. After some time Page and Plant joined up with John Bonham and John Paul Jones for rehearsals before they went to the studio. After 18 days in the studio, Presence was recorded and mixed.
The songs on the album are quite substantial and poignant. Starting off the album with “Achilles Last Stand” is a statement all on it’s own. This song is the epitome of what Zeppelin is. The 10 and a half minute epic that is “Achilles Last Stand” sets a standard on how to kick off an album. “For Your Life” oozes with blues and pain, as Robert was in a wheelchair while he recorded his vocals for the song. “Royal Orleans” has a funk vibe to it, allowing John Paul Jones to show off his seriously underrated bass skills. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is a classic Zeppelin blues jam. Jimmy Page really shines on this song. His guitar playing is astounding and beyond influential. “Candy Store Rock” is probably my least favorite song on the album. It seems like a filler song to an extent and doesn’t have the gusto that other songs on the album have. “Hots On For Nowhere” has an interesting history. The first making of the song goes back to Physical Graffiti as well as live renditions of when Zeppelin would play their extended version of “Dazed and Confused.” Ending the album is “Tea For One,” one of my all time favorite songs by the band. The slow mid tempo build that evolves into a blues epic, along with Robert Plant’s vocals and lyrics. “Tea For One” is also the perfect compliment ending to the album.
Presence is a rock n roll album to the fullest. The guitar tones on this record have been copied throughout the years. Not to mention the overall sound of the album. There is a purity about Presence that shines through and through. Perhaps it’s because of what Robert Plant was going through, or even the bands need to capture their roots again but, I will say this, Presence is a game changing album for any music lover. If you are a fan of rock music, then you need to listen to this album and feel all that it has to offer.
Today is February 20, 2017, also what would have have been Kurt Cobain’s 50th birthday. I thought today would be a good day to pay tribute to him. Over the course of his short yet very influential career, Kurt’s music took on a different life. Listening back to Bleach, there was a healthy dose of pop sensibilities in that album. Kurt’s love of The Beatles, especially John Lennon really resonated with that album. By the time In Utero came out, his attitude towards what was happening in his life was a complete 180. The sharp and abrasive In Utero was logical and made the most sense in his mind. Rather than repeat the same things they did on Nevermind, Nirvana opted for raw and uncompromising songs and production. I still think to this day that In Utero is Nirvana’s best studio album. One of the most poignant things Nirvana did in their career was the MTV Unplugged. Hearing those songs stripped down to the core, brought out a different side of Kurt and the band. If Kurt were still alive, I could see him doing acoustic tours and albums. Today is a day to look back and remember the music that helped to connect a generation and inspire so many.
Happy Birthday Kurt!
Here are my 10 favorite Nirvana songs (In No Particular Order):
03) All Apologies:
04) The Man Who Sold The World (David Bowie Cover):
When I listen to heavy/extreme music one of the things that really gets my attention are the lyrics and rhythms. There is something truly hypnotic about a pummeling drum beat that hits you the right way. It’s as though that beat puts you in “the zone” and allows the listener to become engrossed by the waves of music coming at you. There is a band from Portland, Oregon called Shroud Of The Heretic that combines the ferociousness of death metal and the subtle undertones of doom metal. The lyrics touch on different topics such as mythology, the elements, and mysticism, providing an extra layer of darkness to their already heavy tones. The rhythm section of vocalist/bassist Thom and drummer Lauren is bursting with thunder and drive that makes you feel the intensity that is walloping in your ears. Their most recent album Unorthodox Equilibrium is a profound statement on where you can take death metal. Portland has quite the band on their hands with Shroud Of The Heretic. Take a closer look at this band!
Incubus have released “Nimble Bastard,” the first single from their upcoming album “EIGHT.” While it’s not a return to the roots of SCIENCE or even Make Yourself, it’s a very energetic song that would fit in really well with A Crow Left Of The Murder or Light Grenades. Check it out below.
Back in the early mid 2000’s there was a band from England that seemed to have the fire to bring punk music back to the forefront. They had the songs, attitude and live show to really leave their mark. The band was Gallows. Led by the ferocious front man Frank Carter, Gallows seemed like they were going to usher in a new wave of punk rock. Fast forward a couple albums into their career, Frank left the band to explore a different side musically. Now, after spending time with his more “alternative” project Pure Love, Frank is back to his punk rock roots. Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes formed in 2015 and since have released 2 albums. Their most recent release Modern Ruin, really showcases Frank’s lyric and vocal abilities. Modern Ruin tells a story and takes you on a journey of life’s ups and downs. Musically, the band compliments the vision of Frank’s lyrics, and adds a dynamic punch. After seeing Gallows way back when, I would bet that the live performances of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are fiery and unrelenting, providing you a night to remember. Check out Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and what they have to offer.
I’ve been on a huge Incubus kick as of late. They are also preparing to release a new album shortly. Hopefully it’s a return to form. While in my Incubus mode, I came up with my “Ultimate Set List” for them.
As usual here are the rules:
Rule 1: What line up of the band would it be
Rule 2: Where would you want to see the show
Rule 3: maximum 25 songs
Lineup: Brandon Boyd, Mike Einzinger, Jose Pasillas, Alex Katunich (aka Dirk Lance), DJ Kilmore
Venue: Roxy Theater
02) When It Comes
03) Anna Molly
06) The Warmth
07) A Crow Left Of The Murder
08) Under My Umbrella
09) A Kiss To Send Us Off
11) In The Company Of Wolves
12) Sick Sad Little World
13) Nowhere Fast
14) New Skin
17) Make Yourself
19) Pardon Me
20) Nice To Know You
23) A Certain Shade Of Green
24) Take Me To Your Leader
Fungus Amongus= 1
Make Yourself= 6
Morning View= 3
A Crow Left Of The Murder= 4
Light Grenades= 3
If Not Now When= 2
Often time as bands go through lineup changes, it takes a while for the band to get back in the swing of things. The new members have a different way of playing and bring a different energy that takes the music on a detour. Then over time as they grow more comfortable, the band comes back to where they should be. Darkest Hour is one of these bands. On their upcoming 9th album, the gents in Darkest Hour have returned to their roots and are about to deliver their most ferocious album in years. You can tell by listening to the first few songs released that these guys mean business. By working with producer Kurt Ballou of Converge and bringing in former guitarist Kris Norris, Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora takes you back to the days of The Mark Of The Judas, Hidden Hands Of The Sadist Nation era. Darkest Hour are unleashing the heavy!